Don’t make us plan ahead.

My daughter has gotten tired of the juice boxes and plain bagels and doesn’t want to go to Starbucks anymore. “It’s boring,” she says. She’s right. I’m sure it is boring for her. But when she wakes me up at 630am on a Saturday, Starbucks is my savior, and she’s coming with me whether she likes it or not.

So I started thinking what Starbucks could be doing to appease both of us. I went onto the “My Starbucks Idea” page and found a heated debate about whether kids should even be allowed at Starbucks. You’d think it was a fancy restaurant the way some people were talking about their desire to ban kids. And then you have parents wanting kid-focused gift cards, menu items, and yes, even a play area a la McDonalds. 

Here’s the problem with both ends of the spectrum:

Banning kids

I don’t think Starbucks could legally ban kids, so that argument goes out the window immediately. Anyway, it wouldn’t be in Starbucks’ best interest to ban kids, because they’d then be banning their parents too. 

Jungle gym

A kids’ playground would separate the kids from their parents. I don’t just want my daughter to have fun, I want to have fun with her. 

I’m a busy parent, aren’t you? Why can’t there be something in the middle that would allow my daughter and me to spend time together? Starbucks has become a part of our culture. It’s almost as necessary to people as their first two spaces. It’s an experience where we go to spend time with other people, work, relax, and connect. It’s not a coffee shop. 

What could Starbucks be doing to accept my kid, beyond offering steamed milk and a cake pop, but not going so far as putting in a playground for her? How could Starbucks be known as a place where parents and kids connect, further embedding themselves in our culture? How could Starbucks appease parents, kids, and the haters who don’t want to allow kids? 

I was at my neighborhood Starbucks today and found the answer. This mom brought a deck of cards to play with her daughter. People are already doing it, but they had to figure it out on their own. Don’t make parents figure it out on their own. Do it for them. I, and countless other parents, will throw down a couple dollars every time we’re already spending $5 on a coffee to keep us occupied together, building our bond. The haters will be happy because the kids will be calm and well behaved. My daughter and I will be happy because we’re spending time together. And Starbucks is happy because customers are happy, purchasing more items and staying longer.

Starbucks should not become McDonalds or Chuck-E-Cheese to appease parents and kids, nor should they be some elitist location that only a few people are allowed to go to. 

Starbucks, further embed yourself in our culture. We want you to.